Hoodie Wearing Church Members Demand Justice In Trayvon Shooting
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – From South Florida to the Windy City and even the Big Apple, people of all nationalities wore hoodies to services on Sunday as a silent cry for justice in the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin.
Martin was gunned down in a Sanford neighborhood last month. His killer, George Zimmerman, said he was acting in self-defense, though 911 calls have called his actions into question. Martin was unarmed when he died and wearing a hoodie. Investigators said Zimmerman thought he looked suspicious.
“All of us in the family, in this church family, have sons, have sons and daughters that were the same age as Trayvon,” said Raanzer Thomas Sr., a pastor at New Generation Missionary Baptist Church. “We look at it as if it very well could have been one of our very own children.”
Members of Thomas’ church marched throughout Opa Locka Sunday morning donning hoodies. One young man held a sign that read, “Does my hoodie define who I am?”
At the Praise Tabernacle International on NW 43rd Avenue in Plantation, congregation members also sported hoodies and called for Zimmerman to be charged with murder.
“I dont just wear my hoodie for Trayvon Martin,” said Leo Stoney, a congregation member. “I wear my hoodie for every African American male that walks the street.”
At the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens, where Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton attended a 7 a.m. service, the pastor said they plan to hold a ‘hoodie service’ in the third week in April. He preached from the pulpit this Sunday wearing a hoodie.
“Trayvon was not given any chance to prove whether he had any character or not,” said G. Vincent Lewis, Pastor at Antiock Missionary Baptist. “It was somebody else’s perception and we’ve got to change that in America.”
Celebrities have also joined the hoodie movement. Geraldo Rivera stirred the pot suggesting that the hoodie is to blame for Trayvon’s death. The Heat team took a photograph donning hoodies and the caption read, “We are Trayvon Martin.” P.Diddy, Jamie Foxx and many other celebrities also posted photos wearing hoodies.
A grand jury will be convened April 10 to consider whether to bring state charges, which could include second-degree murder or manslaughter.
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who has been appeared at rallies with Martin’s parents, has called for an arrest and wants the Justice Department to investigate the shooting as a possible hate crime.
Last week, the Justice Department’s civil rights division and the FBI announced that they were conducting their own investigation into the shooting and a federal hate crimes charge could be filed regardless of what the state does.
Monday a major rally will be held in Sanford at 4 p.m. to demand justice in the death of Martin.